Abiteboul said that it was the chance to lead a manufacturer team that led to this move. According to him, the honour of leading Renault’s charge in F1 was “extremely exciting” for Ricciardo.
“It’s a new type of challenge because here he’s not just going to drive, to come here Friday morning, and then leave on Sunday night,” Abiteboul said. “It’s more than a three-day job. He’s going to be driving the charge for the next stint of Renault in Formula 1, just like Nico Hülkenberg has been from ninth (in the constructors’ championship, in 2016) to fourth, where we are today. The next stint will be in Daniel’s hands, and I think he realises that. It’s a big responsibility, but I think he sees that as an honour and exciting.”
“I don’t want to see any disappointment or frustration when he first drives for us,” Abiteboul said.
“So I think it’s our honesty that has paid off. It doesn’t always pay off in the world of Formula 1, which can sometimes be full of arrogance.”
Abiteboul confessed that Ricciardo’s arrival to the team in 2019 adds more pressure. This is because they feel obliged to deliver a car capable of race wins to a driver of his calibre. But what does the future hold for Ricciardo and Renault? Can they get out of the top 4 spot to challenge Red Bull at least? Can they pick up where they left off in 2006 when Fernando Alonso won his second title with them? There are so many questions that need answering and the 2018 F1 season isn’t even over yet.